Overview: The City of New Rochelle, with assistance from a $3.6 million federal grant, is currently designing a major upgrade of Quaker Ridge Road. The proposed project entails reconfiguration of the existing four lane roadway to a three-lane design, including a dedicated median left-turn lane, enhanced signal technology at intersections, improved sidewalks and crossings for pedestrians, and bicycle lanes, as well as full repaving of the road. The design was presented at a Public Information meeting on February 27, 2019. The proposed design was developed in consultation with a community steering committee composed of representatives from nearby neighborhoods, schools, and houses of worship, and is intended to address public concerns and priorities, such as promoting safety, enhancing walkability, reducing excessive speeding, and providing for the efficient flow of traffic.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are 3 lanes sufficient to handle the volume of traffic on Quaker Ridge Road?
YES. Overall traffic volume on Quaker Ridge Road is well below the threshold at which a three-lane configuration is recommended. (The threshold is approximately 20,000 vehicles per day, while Quaker Ridge Road has about half that volume: 11,200 vehicles per day.) If Quaker Ridge Road were being newly-built today utilizing modern standards, a four-lane configuration would be rejected as excessive.
Will 3 lanes be sufficient during the busiest times when traffic is heaviest?
YES. The proposed design is based on week-long traffic counts measured in fifteen-minute increments. This analysis encompasses rush hour traffic, as well as school pick-up and drop-off. Peak hour traffic volumes can easily be accommodated in one through-lane and one turning-lane per direction. In addition, at every major intersection, dedicated left-turns bays have been sized to accept peak hour vehicle queues.
Will intersections operate more safely and efficiently than they do today?
YES. The separation of left-turn conflicts by delineation of left-turn lanes, the introduction of modern signal technology at intersections that adjusts to real-time traffic conditions, and the enhancement of pedestrian crosswalks will together provide a safer, less stressful, and more efficient experience for all modes of travel. All major intersections have been carefully modeled using field data and computer simulations.
Will the new design enhance the safety of the road as a whole?
YES. The new design will improve safety for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Provision of a continuous median left turn lane will greatly reduce rear-end collisions caused by turning vehicles. Single lane through-traffic will curb excessive speeding, while maintaining smooth traffic flow.
Bicyclists that currently use vehicular travel lanes will be separated from motor vehicle traffic. The bicycle lanes will also serve as buffers between sidewalks and vehicle lanes. Sidewalks will be designed to meet ADA requirements.
Is a motorized vehicle lane being eliminated in order to accommodate bicycle lanes?
NO. While the proposed design features bicycle lanes, the three-lane configuration would be recommended as optimum for motorized vehicles, regardless of whether bicycle lanes are included.
Does the proposal include any new traffic signals?
YES. In addition to replacing existing signals with more efficient “smart” technology, the proposal includes a new traffic signal to be added at the intersection of Van Meter Fens.
Does the federal grant come with any conditions or requirements?
YES. The federal grant that covers the bulk of the Quaker Ridge Road improvements requires consideration for Complete Streets elements, such as bicycle and pedestrian features, and requires inclusion of these elements when feasible.
Can New Rochelle use the grant simply to pave Quaker Ridge Road, without making other changes?
NO. Reconstruction of the pavement without including Complete Streets features would invalidate the grant and require the City to refund federal monies expended to date. A different revenue stream would have to be identified to pay for repaving, and this would most likely consist entirely or primarily of City funds. Therefore, in addition to losing the various benefits of the Complete Streets design, a simple repaving of the road would increase net costs to local taxpayers.
Will the project include new pavement for Quaker Ridge Road?
YES. As part of the project, Quaker Ridge Road will receive an entirely new surface.
Will I receive a response to my questions and comments?
YES. As part of the preparation of a Design Report, which is required under the New York State approval process for the project, the City’s consultant team will provide written responses to all comments received at a February 27th Public Information Meeting, as well as to any additional comments received either by email or mail by March 20th. After that date, comments and questions may still be submitted, but will not be formally included in the Design Report. Comments and questions may be sent in writing to Director of Planning & Sustainability Kevin Kain, New Rochelle City Hall, 515 North Ave., New Rochelle, NY 10801 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Quaker Ridge Road Complete Streets Project including the proposed design visit www.newrochelleny.com/quakerridge or contact Kevin Kain, Director of Planning & Sustainability at (914) 654- 2191 and email@example.com.